I recently returned from Nepal and felt compelled to write this review following my negative experiences.
This was my fourth trip to Nepal and the hardest trek that I have attempted to date, being Mera Peak, which sits at 6,476m.
My disappointment lies with the UK organization, Ascent Mountaineering, which I booked the trek through; because of dealings I had with this organization both prior to the trek and in Nepal (a representative from the company took part in the trek) and I have listed some reasons for my feelings below.
I felt the information provided prior to the trek was insufficient. The itinerary itself didn't include any information about the day to day trekking, such as terrain, highest and lowest altitudes during the day and approximate trekking hours - the only information provided was the destination name and altitude. The kit list that was provided left out required equipment and listed incorrect items. There was a general lack of information such as additional costs required on the trek, details around tipping, the dates that accommodation was booked in Kathmandu and even when the pre-departure trek meeting would take place.
On the trek I had various conversations with other groups we met and it became apparent that the 13 trekking days allowed on our itinerary was far less than the average time allowed for trekking Mera Peak, which I have since found to be around 15-18 days. I regret that I hadn't personally investigated this further before arriving in Nepal and feel the reduced itinerary not only risked the safety of the group but also affected the group's ability to successfully summit (only 1 from our group of 6 made it to the top).
During the trek I was very disappointed to learn that only 42% of the money I had paid for the trek was passed onto the Nepalese trekking company, who bear the majority of the costs. In my opinion, this is a ridiculously low cut and I'm extremely upset that more of my money didn't reach the people who genuinely deserved it.
I had various dealings in Nepal with the UK company representative and personally found him to be unprofessional, dishonest and patronizing, not to mention largely unknowledgeable about the Nepalese trekking culture. The disrespect that this individual showed to other trekkers in the group, the Nepalese people and me has left me with a somewhat sour taste in my mouth.
In saying this, Nepal is such an amazing country and it most definitely has me under its spell. Mera Peak is beautiful, with breathtaking views, and I hope to be back again soon for a second attempt. Going forward, however, I'll be booking my treks directly through a reputable trekking company based in Nepal, rather than through a middle man like this.